Last month, fifteen Grinnellians participated in the annual Health Professions Career Community Trek. Their travels took them to the St. Louis University School of Medicine to attend the 2023 Regional Medical Education Conference (RMEC). The meeting for midwestern medical professionals and students aims to advance medical education and foster a supportive environment for underrepresented students. RMEC was hosted by Region II of the Student National Medical Association, an organization dedicated to supporting the success and advancement of minority medical students, advocating for health equity, and addressing the unique challenges faced by underrepresented individuals in the field of medicine.
During the two-day trek, Health Pros attendees were immersed in a series of inspirational keynote addresses, workshops, a research poster session, mock admissions interviews, and networking opportunities with both current medical students and representatives from various medical schools. Hands-on activities in the simulation labs, featuring suturing, CPR, intubation, and medical case studies, were particularly popular among the participants. Under the guidance of medical students and residents, attendees were able to test their skills in a practical setting.
Reflecting on the experience, Ahmad Ayyeh ’25 shared, “I enjoyed the different workshops that we had as students on the premed track. They helped me plan better for the MCAT and better understand how the interviewing process works.”
The culmination of the trek was a dinner that provided Grinnell alums currently pursuing careers in public health, medicine, and post-baccalaureate research at Washington University in St. Louis an opportunity to connect with the next generation of Grinnellians pursuing careers in healthcare.
Collectively, the Health Professions students left the conference with a simple yet powerful message—the journey to medical school is as diverse as the individuals who embark on it. Ahmad Ayyeh ’25 emphasized, “Getting into med school requires one to truly let go of the ‘checklist’ mindset, and to genuinely put all of one’s efforts into what matters to them.” William Chhim ’25 concurred, highlighting the importance of being a holistic applicant and recognizing that medical schools evaluate candidates based on their entire profile, not just academic achievements. Jayla Johnson ’27 echoed this sentiment, noting, “I enjoyed getting the chance to see people in all stages of the medical [training] process and from different walks in life. Hearing all those stories showed me that there are many paths to medical school.”
The Health Professions Career Community is generously supported by a gift from Dr. J. Michael ’67 and Mrs. Linda Powers ’67.